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Coordinated approach needed for sustainable cities

The Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the COAG Reform Council’s report on strategic planning for capital cities and urged governments to engage more with the community and set measureable targets for creating sustainable cities.

“Capital cities are where most Australians live and where most economic activity happens, but our cities often end up unhealthy, traffic-clogged and a drain on the environment” said ACF’s Sustainable Australia Program Manager, Monica Richter.

“Decades of poorly-managed suburban sprawl have left many Australians living on the fringes of cities, at risk of being excluded from jobs and services because they don’t have access to decent public transport.

“To create a more dynamic, modern and sustainable economy, we need to invest in infrastructure and services that reduce traffic congestion and create sustainable cities.

Well thought out strategic plans can make our cities healthier, more sustainable, liveable and productive, but it needs a coordinated, whole-of-government approach

“COAG is central to this approach working.

“We would urge COAG to engage better with the community and set performance targets that can be measured and tracked.

“For example, COAG should set a target for all residents of capital cities to have access to regular public transport within 800 metres of their homes.

“Targets like this can have a tangible, positive impact on people’s daily lives.

“Most Australians want to use public transport, thereby decreasing traffic congestion, accidents and pollution, but too often there isn’t a tram or a train nearby — or it’s too crowded to get on.

“Through the COAG process our governments have a golden opportunity to make Australian cities better, healthier, more sustainable places — ACF urges our leaders to grab that opportunity with both hands.”